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Juliette Lewis: Not all people understand me. I don’t even care
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Juliette Lewis: Not all people understand me. I don’t even care

With multi-hyphenate, famed rock’n roll soul Juliette Lewis on her father loss, being in the summer camps, and things she has learned from Meryl Streep.

Do you miss 90’s?

– I don’t live in the past, no. Sometimes I think about 80s, the days I went to summer camp.

What do you miss most about summer camps?

– Probably just being a kid. The whole day was adventure. Everything was so new and fresh. I’m still trying to live that way now. It is different, though.

Must be hard to feel same as too much information destroys childhood innocence…

– I don’t feel that way at all.

Really?

– I felt more fragile. Have you ever have people die in your life?

I haven’t, but you had. How did you move on after you lost your father?

– Sometimes in grief you can’t do anything. For a month you could barely go to a store. Then, one day you wake up and feel more fragile and strong at the same time.

Photo credit: Zoey Grossman for NOTOFU Magazine

Photo credit: Zoey Grossman for NOTOFU Magazine

Which movie you took a role make you most excited lately?

– The one with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, August: Osage County.

Your performance was so intense.

– That was really special. You don’t get those opportunities very often. The writing, how special it was… The characters were so complicated and rich that we felt maybe we’ve met those people in real life. I think Tracy Letts [the writer] is Tennessee Williams of our generations. Everybody but Meryl [Streep] and Julia [Roberts] auditioned and tried to get their parts. I was really happy that I got this role. And it was a really powerful and special experience.

What have you learned from Meryl Streep?

– I learned how to maintain a sense of grace; to be down to earth person and to have such a deep connection with family. It is related the way she works. The role comes through her, like a message. What she does is not acting, that’s “chanelling.” She is still connected to her life in a very beautiful way.

In which role you felt “channeling”?

– Every single role. Every single role I try to become the other person and make people think I’m that person much like breathing. I try to make it so simple and pure, as pure as breathing.

You’ve been in this industry for really long time…

– 26 years!

And, when were you happiest?

– Some moments you didn’t appreciate in the moment, become a treasure over the years. “Natural Born Killers” was such an adventure, for instance. One of the most important movies I did was “The Other Sister” with Garry Marshall. I think I happiest while filming that. I didn’t know if I was able to do that role. When I achieved and found ways to that character, I felt different. Acting is so hard. When you are trying to strive for greatness, you kind of start torturing yourself because you want to be great. I don’t want to just be good or okay.

What inspired you most?

– Movies that made an impression on me and inspired me, they are all musicals. Hair, for instance… A really powerful one but it’s about rejecting the war. And ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’, of course…If anybody wants to know real me, they got to watch ‘Rocky Picture Horror Show’. It’s radical! It’s crazy!

Photo credit: Zoey Grossman for NOTOFU Magazine.

Photo credit: Zoey Grossman for NOTOFU Magazine.

Having a rock band, being on stage, and filming cult movies like Kalifornia, Natural Born Killers, and From Dusk Till Dawn, must have made you a very ‘sex&drugs& rock’n’roll ’ icon over the years. Do you feel that way?

– That’s funny because I quit drugs when I was very young.

How old were you?

– I was 22, and I was ready for change. But before that maybe it was difficult.

Was it hard for you?

It was a very sad time for me. I was ready for change. That is all I can say. Now I am 43, it was 20 years ago…

You always seem so comfortable in your own skin, and ready to talk about anything, though.

– I love the spirit of being real and being truthful. In this business with celebrity, I never fit in very well. No one is real and I can see why. They are trying to protect themselves because so many people are talking about them all the time. My story is different. I love connecting to my audience.

Every single role I try to become the other person and make people think I’m that person much like breathing. I try to make it so simple and pure, as pure as breathing.

So you must obsessed with social media…

– I was scared of social media, and now I realize it is through my audience that I even exist in an artistic way. There is such a huge love exchange going on there. Not all people understand me. And I don’t even care. Some think maybe I am bit crazy, and maybe they don’t like my words. I don’t care. I just love that we are connected. A nice feeling to worth trying for…

Do you sometimes question yourself about your life choices and the real reason behind choosing this career?

– I try to make people feel understood, loved, heard. I could do that with strange characters through moving people emotionally. On emotional level and it releases people from their own everyday problems. So whether it is a rock’n’roll show or telling a story in movies, I am looking for people to feel stronger or more excited or inspired about life.

Cover photo credit: Amy Sussman / AP

 


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